The average attention span is just eight seconds and with your website being the first point of contact, concise copy is no longer enough to keep your audience engaged. As a result, imagery places more importance on your website than ever before, but there’s a problem. With a variety of stock libraries available, images are lacking personalisation. Here, we explore the importance of custom photography on your website and how your business could benefit from it.
The Science of Good Imagery
Firstly, it’s important to understand why good imagery is needed on a website. To begin with, humans are very visual and tend to look at images first and ask questions later. Think about it— if you click on a blog article or any item that’s shared on social media, do you look at the image or the headline first? While some may argue that they’re more drawn to the headline, on a biological level, our brains store images in our long-term memory, whereas text is stored in our short-term memory. This means that images register much faster than words do— and they stay in our brains for much longer too.
How Photography is Used on a Website
Good photography on your website is used for many purposes. It can be used to showcase your work, reinforce a point you’re trying to make or advertise a service. Photography contributes a huge part of your brand’s overall identity and the imagery used on your website can be used as a selling point for your product or service, but what makes a ‘good’ image?
Authenticity and Originality
We’ve all seen it. An obviously-posed businessman shaking hands with a woman, while smiling at the camera at the same time. Stock imagery isn’t difficult to spot on a website.When using such images, it encourages feelings of distrust for your name and your product, especially when the images aren’t of your products, customers or your staff. How will people know this is a real company? Are there real people working behind the scenes?You also risk repeating images that have been used on several websites from the same industry. What makes you different? If you’re using stock imagery on your website, you’re not standing out from the crowd, resulting in your audience not getting a complete feel of the product or service you’re advertising.
Brand Recognition and Substance
When it comes to brand recognition, the first thought that may come to mind is product photography, but sometimes this isn’t enough. Great images show substance— they show the faces behind the brand, the workspace and most importantly, give an overall feel of what the business looks and feels like. If you’re going to include imagery on your website, it needs to show personality.
Tell a Story
As we’ve said before, great photography has substance and part of this comes with using images to tell a story. Interesting angles, colour and location choices all tell the story of your organisation.
What a Professional Photographer Can Do
So, with all this in mind, what can a professional photographer do that stock imagery or my iPhone can’t? Here are some of the benefits:
- Lighting and composition: Firstly, a professional photographer will account for lighting and composition. Photographers can work in low light, so unless if you want a low-res image, with lots of noise to distract from the main subject, hiring a professional photographer can be a huge benefit.
- Authenticity: Remember the point we made on authenticity and originality? A professional photographer can take photographs of your business and even your employees— everything that makes your company unique. The images you use start to stand out from the other companies in your industry, by showing the company’s personality.
- Increases trust: As we’ve already mentioned, stock imagery can lead to feelings of distrust for your name and products, especially when the image is likely to have been used many times before. By using a professional photographer, you can avoid this by using real photographs of your organisation and the people behind it.
- Business Growth: Another benefit of professional photography is business growth. The National Retail Federation studied how people ranked the importance of image quality in relation to buying products. 94% said the quality of the image was ‘very to somewhat’ important so selecting and buying products.
But what if I don’t have the budget for a professional photographer?
While hiring a professional photographer has many advantages, if professional photography isn’t an option, here are some tips for finding the right stock imagery for your website:
- Brand voice: Make sure the stock images help communicate your business and your brand voice. Ask yourself: Does this image bring value to the page? If you use a different image, will it have the same feel? How does the image reflect the brand?
- Look natural: Choose an image of people looking natural and avoid pictures of subjects smiling directly at the camera, as these kinds of images look very staged. Also, avoid photographs with obvious positioning. Here is an example of what we consider to be a ‘staged’ photograph, compared with one that looks more natural.
- Look at your competitors: Realise that many other websites— including your competitors— will be using the same images. Don’t use the very first image that pops up after a search result, unless you feel it resonates best with your brand compared to other images listed.
While stock images can be a quick way of finding imagery for your website, hiring a professional photographer can provide your business with that extra personal touch. A professional photographer will help your business stand out from the competition, by not only ensuring that the images you use are not used anywhere else, but will effectively communicate your business and the people behind it.Are you looking for professional photography for your website? To find out more, please contact the team at email@example.com